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The Girl from Nowhere (La Fille de Nulle Part) by Jean-Claude Brisseau

November 25, 2013


If you are a human being on a spiritual quest the only three options that make sense nowadays are: fanatic religion, science with its inability to give all the answers you are looking for, silence. This receipt belongs to Michel Devilliers (played by Brisseau himself) a former teacher of maths who has dedicated the years since his retirement to an essay he intends to title: Reflection and critical analysis of our beliefs. During the course of the film we will discover that professor Devilliers is ready to hear and accept a much wider range of voices and suggestions along the road of his quest besides the three way path conceived by his rationality, commencing with the acceptance into his life of a girl from nowhere who mysteriously proves herself to dispose of the kind of smarts necessary to help Devilliers to complete his essay.


Brisseau has shot La Fille de Nulle Part with an amazing scarcity of means: he has chosen digital, he plays the main male role, just like in The Exterminating Angels his assistant director (Virginie Legeay) plays the girl, Brisseau’s Parisian apartment is the main set of the film, but there is no scarcity at all of cinematic ideas in this film, Brisseau has returned to the visual themes who informed his work of the 90s while the subject of the film – which mainly relates to a man’s search to find some kind of hope now that he feels that the end of his days is close – is rich in subtext with a peculiar attention to the importance of illusions in our lives, so The Girl from Nowhere is a continuous meditation on cinema, literature and painting, what do they mean in our life and what is the urge compelling the artist to produce his work. In a film abundant with artistic references – it opens quoting Victor Hugo and it closes quoting Vincent Van Gogh – the unmissable cinematic quote is a Vertigo tribute: the girl from nowhere appears to be a blonde reincarnation of a dead brunette, Hitch revisited with a supernatural touch. It is rare to find a movie with such a perfect balance of wit, visual ideas, intelligent entertainment and rhythm, and while I guess the economic limitations have impeded a full development of the script, The Girl from Nowhere is a delicious cinematic little gem.

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